Amid protests and unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, a new report says it’s time for us to confront systemic racism in MontrealThe 252-page report, issued on Monday by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), outlines the stark and persistent discrimination experienced by minorities in the city and calls for sweeping changes. “The fight against racism and discrimination has been neglected,” states the report.

“The systemic nature of these phenomena is not recognized. Consequently, the city does not question its policies and practices, nor its role in the production and perpetuation of inequalities within its various jurisdictions, such as employment and public security.” 

The report goes on to make 38 recommendations for changes to a number of municipal practices and services including policing, housing, hiring, and cultural programs.

It calls for the hiring of a commissioner to counter racism and discrimination and an action plan with specific goals to fight racism and improve accountability at every level of municipal government. 

The report also calls on the city and its boroughs to produce more data on the disparities in wealth, education, homeownership, health, and incarceration produced by systemic racism.

But perhaps its most radical recommendations are for the police.  

The report contends that racial and social profiling are endemic to the Montreal police department and outlines complaints made for years by minority groups who have said they were unfairly singled out by police. 

It outlines a number of steps police should take from better training to better recruiting “in order to ensure the elimination of candidates who manifest racial prejudice.”  

The report presents data that shows the extent to which minority groups appear to have been disproportionately focused on by the police.  

It cites one report that found 90 percent of the files received by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) regarding allegations of racial profiling over the past ten years were directed against the SPVM.  

The OCPM interviewed 7,000 people for the report, which was published in response to a 22,000-signature petition presented to the city in 2018 requesting a public consultation on systemic racism.  

Coincidentally, it was released after thousands of Montrealers turned out for several protests in the city over the last few weeks, with people coming together to demand an end to police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.  

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